DfT annual report confirms rise in UK road casualties
COMMENT FROM STAKEHOLDERS
ROAD SAFETY GB
“We understand the need to compare figures year-on-year, but looking at figures over a three year average is a more robust statistical approach; especially when drilling down to smaller numbers associated with individual road user groups. It will be more concerning if the increase continues in future years. We agree that factors such as the economy, the weather, fuel prices and funding are likely to have played a part in the increase. Going forward more money has been provided to Highways England, which will allow safety improvements to continue to be made on motorways and strategic roads, but for local authorities the pressure is on to balance the books in terms of road safety spending. Local councils are responsible for most of this country’s roads, including the rural roads with the higher rates of collisions and casualties. Councils are having to make tough decisions across all areas and there is no doubt that there has been and will continue to be less money for road safety engineering improvements on the majority of roads and also for our Road Safety GB members involved in road safety education.”
James Gibson, director of communications, Road Safety GB
“To claim, as the DfT has done, that a 4% rise in fatalities is ‘not statistically significant’ is an outrage. Try telling that to the relatives and friends of the 1,775 people who lost their lives. To blame the increase on a rise in traffic levels is a monstrous abrogation of responsibility. The worst year for road deaths in this country was 1941, when traffic levels were just a fraction of what they are today. The Government needs to face up to its responsibilities and accept that a strong, robust lead in road safety is now a pressing priority.”
David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive
“As our economy improves, we can expect traffic levels to continue to increase, so we must do everything we can to make sure this does not lead to even more increases in road crashes and casualties. The reductions in road death and injury in recent years will not automatically be sustained, without a continued commitment to road safety. We must remain focussed on making our roads safer for everyone, and especially for people travelling on foot and by two wheels. The number of pedestrian fatalities involving those over 60 has increased by 16%, together with a 7% increase in car occupants. With an aging population we must renew our efforts to reverse this phenomenon. It is estimated that between 240 and 340 people were killed in Great Britain when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit. We must renew our efforts to highlight the dangers of drink driving.”
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager at RoSPA
“These figures are very worrying, especially the fact that driver behaviour remains the top cause of crashes. We are clear on what needs to be done here. We call again for road safety targets to be reintroduced – they are an internationally recognised way of ensuring reductions are measured and achieved. There also must be a greater focus on driver and rider quality and incentives for companies and individuals to continuously develop their skills. There also needs to be a focus on tackling pedestrian deaths, an area which is often ignored. We believe that car technology and design should now shift from occupant protection to protecting the vulnerable outside cars. We also need better pedestrian facilities to segregate traffic and vulnerable users where speeds are high, and campaigns to educate pedestrians themselves as they are most often at fault in crashes.”
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research
“We should be under no illusions as to the seriousness of these figures. The government needs to get a grip of this situation, and it can start by reintroducing ambitious casualty reduction targets, with an ultimate aim of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads to zero. The increases in serious casualties among pedestrians and cyclists are especially horrifying, given the importance of protecting vulnerable road users and enabling people to walk and cycle more."
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake
“Whilst we are pleased to see continued KSI casualty reductions across the London region, we are concerned by the national rise in KSI casualties. We urge the Government, regional and local authorities to make road safety an urgent priority to avoid further rises in casualty numbers. After all, when DfT calculations show that each prevented road fatal casualty has a value of over £1.8 million and each seriously injured casualty, over £200,000 it makes reductions in road safety budgets completely nonsensical.”
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